Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies

First Advisor

Lorenzo Covarrubias


This research project explores the topic of prison labor in the United States. The aim is to analyze the both the strengths and weaknesses of inmate labor programs. In addition, this project examines the effect that these programs have on both the prison itself and the inmates that participate. It analyzes Marion County’s Inmate Work Farm in order to investigate how helpful or harmful this program is to the inmates and the community that surrounds it. This project uses several different theoretical concepts to further explain the topic including Michele Foucault’s concept of power as well as the concept of social order and the societal institutions, such as prisons, that are used to maintain it. The project concludes that there are both risks and benefits to these labor programs which include an incentive for higher incarceration rates, exploitative conditions, vocational training for post-release, and strengthening ties with the community that surrounds it.